05-25-2018  12:03 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

'Smart' gadgets: Ways to minimize privacy and security risks

NEW YORK (AP) — Revelations that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family's private conversation to an acquaintance shows the risks that come with new technologies.According to Amazon, the Echo's Alexa voice assistant misheard a word as "Alexa" — a trigger to activate...

The Latest: 3 injured in hit-and-crash in downtown Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on hit-and-crash in Portland, Oregon (all times local):11:20 a.m.Police say three women have been injured in a hit-and-run crash near Portland State University.Portland police Sgt. Chris Burley say the vehicle hit the women while they were on a sidewalk...

'Smart' gadgets: Ways to minimize privacy and security risks

NEW YORK (AP) — Revelations that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family's private conversation to an acquaintance shows the risks that come with new technologies.According to Amazon, the Echo's Alexa voice assistant misheard a word as "Alexa" — a trigger to activate...

Former NAACP leader exposed as white faces fraud charges

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.Nkechi Diallo, known as Rachel Dolezal before she legally changed her name in 2016, was charged this week...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Utah NAACP head disheartened by sentence in hate-crime case

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man accused of yelling racial slurs at the young son of a black man and then shocking the father with a stun cane has been sentenced to nine months behind bars — an outcome called disheartening by a civil rights leader.The Deseret News reports defendant...

Former NAACP leader exposed as white faces fraud charges

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.Nkechi Diallo, known as Rachel Dolezal before she legally changed her name in 2016, was charged this week...

Students hand back in yearbook after racial slur is pictured

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Students at a coastal Georgia high school are being asked to hand back in their yearbooks after a racial slur made for some bad memories.The Savannah-Chatham County school district tells news outlets that the publisher has recalled the Windsor Forest High School yearbook...

ENTERTAINMENT

Famed chef Mario Batali's Vegas Strip restaurants will close

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mario Batali's three Las Vegas Strip restaurants will shut down July 27, officials said Friday, as the celebrity chef faces sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women.Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group partner Joe Bastianich sent a letter to nearly 300 workers...

The Latest: Weinstein takes books on theater, film to arrest

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the sexual misconduct probe of film producer Harvey Weinstein (all times local):11:40 a.m.Harvey Weinstein was in and out of custody so quickly in his rape case, he probably didn't have time to read the books he brought with him.The film mogul carried three...

Handcuffed Weinstein faces rape charge in #MeToo reckoning

NEW YORK (AP) — It was the moment the #MeToo movement had been waiting for: Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs.His face pulled in a strained smile and his hands locked behind his back, the once-powerful Hollywood figure emerged from a police station Friday facing rape and criminal sex act...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit,...

For CEOs, .7 million a year is just middle of the pack

NEW YORK (AP) — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year,...

Source: Trump administration has cut deal with China's ZTE

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has told Congress it's reached a deal that would allow Chinese...

Putin says US exit from Iran deal could trigger instability

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Friday that the U.S. exit from the...

Explosion at Indian restaurant in Canada wounds 15 people

TORONTO (AP) — An explosion caused by a homemade bomb ripped through an Indian restaurant where children...

Netherlands, Australia hold Russia liable for downing MH17

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A day after international prosecutors said they had unequivocal evidence of...

Exterior of Multnomah County Circuit Court
By Christen McCurdy | The Skanner News

Attorneys challenging, on behalf of Olan Jermaine Williams, an Oregon law that allows non-unanimous convictions on felony charges expect a response by mid-December.

The ACLU of Oregon and the Oregon Justice Resource Center, along with Williams’ attorney Ryan Scott, argue Oregon’s law – one of just two like it in the country – violates the equal protection provision of the U.S. Constitution. Attorneys submitted amicus briefings last week to contest the law on Williams’ behalf, and Scott said Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Bronson James has told attorneys he will have a decision by mid-December on the case.

Williams holds a master’s degree from Howard University and is a 2001 graduate of Jefferson High School. He was tried this summer on three sodomy charges and acquitted on two, but convicted of the third.

Williams’ attorney Ryan Scott told The Skanner that one of the jurors – the only African American juror to serve on Williams’ jury – attended Williams’ sentencing and testified that she fully supported him and was very upset about the verdict.

The one Black juror’s experience is summarized in more detail in an academic paper to be published in Oregon Law Review early next year, which coauthor Aliza Kaplan – who directs the criminal justice reform clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School – shared with The Skanner.

The juror testified that the majority-White jury (two jurors were Asian, nine were women and three were men) very quickly decided to acquit Williams of two charges for which he was tried. The jury was split on another count, however, and the Black juror testified that the other jurors spent four hours of deliberation time trying to get her, and two other holdouts, to change their minds. Finally, one juror – saying she didn’t want to come back the following day and couldn’t stay late that night due to a lack of child care – flipped her vote.

The 10-2 vote was enough to convict Williams under Oregon law.

“I don’t think people in Oregon know this rule. If we were the defendant, we would have an expectation that we would need a unanimous jury [to convict], and we don’t -- but in federal court and in 48 other states we do,” Kaplan told The Skanner.

According to Kaplan, Oregon’s law has been appealed several times but has never been heard by the state Supreme Court – and Oregon has no data tracking how many defendants have been convicted by non-unanimous juries.

Attorneys involved with Williams’ case say the case is unique, but echoes the intent of the original law – which was to prevent minorities from influencing verdicts.

“Effectively, in Mr. Williams’ case, the law is doing exactly what people hoped it would do in 1934, which is that a minority voice could not prevent a conviction,” Scott told The Skanner.

Oregon’s law, which was implemented in 1934 as the result of a ballot measure amending the Constitution, is one of two like it in the country. Louisiana passed a law preventing non-unanimous jury verdicts in 1880, shortly after the end of slavery, Kaplan said, and this law was explicitly intended to expand the availability of free labor by increasing the state’s prison population.

Kaplan writes that Oregon’s non-unanimous jury rule was the result of a ballot measure in 1934 and was precipitated by xenophobic and anti-Semitic media coverage of the trial of Jacob Silverman, a Jewish man tried for first-degree murder of a White, Protestant victim. Eleven jurors wanted to convict, but a holdout juror refused to convict, and the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter instead. He was sentenced to a $1000 fine and three years in prison, far less than the maximum sentence due to for the offense.

“Americans have learned, with some pain, that many peoples in the world are unfit for democratic institutions, lacking the traditions of the English speaking peoples,” wrote an editorial writer for The Morning Oregonian at the time. Shortly after the Silverman verdict, the Oregon legislature proposed a constitutional amendment allowing non-unanimous convictions in felony trials, which Oregonians passed (by a vote of 46,745 to 27,988) in a special election that year.

“This is a really unique situation, where you have a non-unanimous verdict where you have the defendant and the not-guilty-voting jurors being of the same race and having the juror come forward with that information,” said Emily E. Elison, the attorney who wrote the Oregon Justice Resource Center’s amicus brief on the Williams case.

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